TODAY the amphitheatre lies decayed and unused, and as the sea winds from Marine Drive just across the railway tracks sweeps across the once famous open air theatre now lying in ruins, its resigned silence speaks about rock concerts, jazz yatras, tamashas and lavani shows held here in days long gone by.
In 2003, this iconic open-air theatre was closed since courts refused to exempt it from silence zone restrictions.
But on an Easter, nearly thirty years ago, I’d written and directed a play here, called, “Happy Easter, It’s the Police!’ My mind, goes to the main character, Anita, who on an Easter morning hears her husband humming a hymn and joins in as they get ready to go to church.
And then catastrophe strikes as the police enter and arrest her husband for fraud and drag him to the police station.
All this on an Easter morning. Desperate, petrified and scared she calls all the people she knows and even hears her father saying, she should never have married this man, who seems now to be exposed as a cheat.
Even as her faith is shattered, a strange man wearing an ancient attire enters her home, and asks her, about her faith, her reading of the holy scriptures, and her relationship with her God, “Your husband was also going to sing a solo in church today, wasn’t he?”
“Sir,” screams Anita don’t mock me, not now when I am down and out!” “You believed in God when everything was comfortable for you!” continues the strange man, “Now in a crisis, your beliefs are blown to smithereens!” “Who are you?” whispers Anita.
“I am the one they call the Doubting Thomas!” says the man, “like you, I followed Christ, saw Him doing miracles, giving sermons and doing all the things holy men do.
But when he died and rose from the dead, I did not believe it was true! You know what he said to me when he finally stood before me, ‘Thomas you believe now, because you have seen me.
Blessed are those who have not seen me and still believe in me!’
I remember the hush in that amphitheatre long ago, as everyone in the audience that Easter knew those words from the Scriptures were for them.
And, for us! That, each of us wishing each other a Happy Easter today, are blessed, because, unlike those who on an Easter over two thousand years ago, saw a Jesus risen from his grave, we who haven’t but still believe, are blessed even more.
In my play, at the Rang Bhavan, it was a different Anita who faced the police after that, an Anita armed with the powers of a Risen Christ. Happy Easter, dear reader, take heart; you are armed with the same..!